Cyber Defense

Air Force needs support strategy for its six cyber weapons

The Air Force is seeking support capabilities for the six cyber capabilities that have been approved for weapons system designations.

In the RFI posted on the FedBizOps website the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center announced that it would be seeking industry discussions to determine product support strategies for the six AFNet Cyber Weapons Systems, which are to be managed by the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks (C3iI&N) Program Executive Office.

The six weapons systems are:

Air Force Cyberspace Defense, which prevents, monitors and detects, and defends against all Air Force Global Information Grid internal and external threats.

Cyberspace Defense Analysis, which provides OPSEC and cyber defense analysis, focusing more on information loss rather than threats to the AF GIG/mission systems.

Cyberspace Vulnerability Assessment, which protects against advanced persistent threats and performs cyber vulnerability assessments, including on industrial control systems.

Cyber Command and Control Mission System, which provides full-spectrum cyber support for cyber forces in support of Combatant Commander missions and requirements.

Air Force Intranet Control, which manages and protects Air Force network gateways and service delivery points.

Cyber Security and Control Systems, which provides base boundary protection and Air Force GIG core services.

The weapons systems will require a 99.9 percent operational availability, meaning that total system downtime cannot go over 8.46 hours per year.

More specifically, the Air Force is looking to develop a call center/service center to provide a single point of contact for service support, to be available 24/7, 365 days a year. The center will have performance metrics that track hardware and software reliability rates.

Other support services include: hardware obsolescence management; licenses management; software and firmware maintenance and modernization; life cycle cost management; maintaining a multi-configuration lab for testing and certification purposes; developing and delivering training classes; tracking vulnerabilities and upgrades; conducting root cause analysis; performing customer satisfaction feedback; and maintaining a complete and automated asset management database.

As a part of an effort to normalize cyberspace as an operational area of warfare, the Air Force announced the approval of the weapons systems designation for six of its cyber capabilities in April 2013. The individual capabilities were unannounced at the time, but were revealed soon after – fact sheets describing the systems came out in July.

The official weapons classification came as an attempt to allow the Air Force to better lobby for decreasing DOD funds. In the fiscal 2015 budget proposals, the Air Force got $67 million for U.S. Cyber Command activities, a significant increase from the $38 million from last year.

About the Author

Joey Cheng is an editorial fellow with Defense Systems.

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